The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to write "clear Government communication that the public can understand and use."
The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to complying with the law. Our plain writing webpage includes an overview of the law, a summary of the Department's goals, and plain language contact information.
This report covers plain language efforts that took place in May 2018 through September 2019.
Agency Activities and Accomplishments
- The Department hosted a national office plain language training in July 2019 and two trainings in September 2019. A trainer from the Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) conducted the trainings, which lasted approximately a half-day each and covered all elements of plain language. The trainings were well-received by employees of all levels and agencies within the Department.
- Throughout September 2019, the Department's Office of Compliance Initiatives (OCI) conducted a review to determine whether its enforcement agencies' compliance assistance materials and tools are current, easily accessible, and understandable. The review identified best practices for delivering compliance assistance. As part of the review, OCI evaluated the enforcement agencies' plain language efforts and adherence to plain language principles, with implementation of results of the review to occur in FY 2020. The Department will present the results of this review in the 2020 Plain Writing Act Compliance Report.
- The Department requires that all new employees take plain language training within 90 days of starting their position. In May 2018 through September 2019, 2,264 new Department employees nationwide completed the training and received a completion certificate. The Department continues to offer plain language training to all new employees.
Each year, the Center for Plain Language evaluates federal agencies for compliance with the Plain Writing Act.
In 2019, the Center for Plain Language evaluated federal agencies on:
- Overall effectiveness
- Understanding audience needs
- Style or voice
- Structure and content
- Information design and navigation
- Pictures, graphics, and charts
The evaluation scores are based on two categories. The first category is organizational compliance, which consists of staffing, communication, and training. In 2019, the Department received an A- in this category. The second category is writing quality, focusing on how easy it is for the public to find, understand, and use the information it needs. The Department received a B in this category.